Analysis: Windows 8 Wish List of Features and Functions

I’ve just read an IDG article on the Reuters website where there is some wishing on what would appear in Windows 8.

“I really hate seeing that a copy will take 13 minutes, no four hours, no 25 minutes, etc., etc.”

Agreed.  The problem is that the copy time is a result, not just of the amount of data to copy, but of the physical storage media, network, removable media interfaces, contention, and fragmentation.  It’s impossible to accurately predict the time it will require.  But I still want some sort of clue rather than an empty copy status box.

Features such as “map a network drive”, “uninstall or change a program” or “burn to DVD” are buried or keep getting moved around from one Windows version to the next.

I 100% agree with this.  Windows Explorer needs a complete reversal back to Windows XP.  Get rid of that annoying breadcrumb trail and give me back the actual path.  I should not have to click “just so” to see it or quickly type over it.  And fix the Folders pane on the left.  I want it to show where I currently am in the file system.  Stop hiding information from me and making my job more difficult.  Actually, let’s do an FRS on this: scrap Windows Explorer and start again (FRS -> DFS-R).

I attended a focus group event on Windows 7 and I wasn’t alone in this sentiment about Windows Explorer.  Pretty != better.

“An important feature I would like to see is simply a timely release of the next version”

I completely disagree.  That’s the sort of attitude a salesman or marketing person will have.  We techies would rather have the product released when it is right.  Give the devs and testers a chance to finish the job (while keeping the objectives ata  reasonable level).  Let’s compare two products:

  • Windows Server 2003: It took its time coming out.  It was ready when it did.  It pretty much had widespread acceptance.
  • Exchange 2007: We were back in the bad old days of SP1 fixing it.  I’ve heard some comment that Exchange is still in that quagmire: SP1 is fixing Exchange 2010.

The “wait for SP1” syndrome helps no one.

Use Roles in Windows 8

The idea here is that a machine could be better tuned for the device or environment.  I don’t know that MS can do with Windows 8 or not.  But I love the idea.  A very modular version of Windows where roles/features (like in Windows Server 2008/R2) would be enabled/disabled depending on the product edition that was licensed would be great for businesses, end users, and MS.  Think about it: a netbook, tablet, slate, or workstation could all be based on the same image but be tuned according to an answer file.  Unwanted components could be disabled manually.  New components could be added manually.  Mobile devices could start up in seconds if tuned correctly, depending on the hardware.  Kiosks could be locked down, not (just) by policy but by what is installed.  I like this.

“An interesting side effect of adding roles might be faster start-up times,”

Anyone with a mobile device wants faster startup times.  It reduces the battery and it reduces the amount of time it takes to quickly check that email, check those directions on a map, make a note, etc.  Ideally you want the process of waking up a mobile device to be as easy and as quick as opening up a notebook (paper, not computer).

Integrate Windows Phone 7 UI

The idea here is to use the touch interface that you are familiar with on the newest generation of smartphones.  Hmmm, this seems like it would be a nice-to-have.  I can definitely see it being useful for kiosk/appliance types of installations and media centres but little else.

Windows error messages are often cryptic, showing hexadecimal error code such as 0xe0000100.  “You end up having to put code in a search engine to find out what the problem is.  If you can’t explain in an error message what went wrong and clearly indicate what to do about it, then you shouldn’t have an error message.”

Sorry; I cannot agree with this one.  I would rather get a cryptic message than not be told there is a fault.  At least I can search for the reason behind a cryptic message.

Here is what I do want: I want the links in Evenrt Viewer to actually lead to a page that is useful, e.g. the support page where the search eventually leads you to.  I expect this will not happen because it hasn’t happened since the links started appearing many versions ago.

More Powerful Power Management

The commentator spends more time talking about startup times than actual power management.  I have to say, a Windows 7 machine does wake up from hibernation pretty quickly when it’s a clean installation.  My netbook suffers because of the Live Mesh beta (a process called MOE.EXE).  I reckon AV scanning of files doesn’t help either.

For real power management, I think we do have a good solution now.  I wouldn’t be surprised if MS squeezes out a few more minutes here and there out of a laptop battery in Windows 8.  Windows 7 gives me more than Vista did.  BTW, MS’s corporate power management solution is System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 (or later) or Group Policy.